Get Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine PDF

By Kate Williams

ISBN-10: 0345522850

ISBN-13: 9780345522856

Their love used to be mythical, their ambition flagrant and unashamed. Napoleon Bonaparte and his spouse, Josephine, got here to energy in the course of essentially the most turbulent sessions within the heritage of France. the tale of the Corsican soldier’s exceptional upward thrust has been good documented. Now, during this spellbinding, luminous account, Kate Williams attracts again the curtain at the girl who beguiled him: her humble origins, her exorbitant appetites, and the tragic flip of occasions that resulted in her undoing.

Born Marie-Josèphe-Rose de Tascher de los angeles Pagerie at the Caribbean island of Martinique, the lady Napoleon may later name Josephine used to be the last word survivor. She persisted a loveless marriage to a French aristocrat—executed through the Reign of Terror—then slightly escaped the guillotine blade herself. Her near-death event basically fueled Josephine’s ambition and heightened her choice to discover a guy who may perhaps finance and maintain her. even though no vintage good looks, she fast constructed a name as the most fascinating ladies at the continent.

In 1795, she met Napoleon. The allure was once mutual, quick, and severe. Theirs was once an often-tumultuous union, roiled via their pursuit of alternative enthusiasts yet intensely excited by energy and good fortune. Josephine was once Napoleon’s excellent consort and the thing of nationwide fascination. jointly they conquered Europe. Their extravagance was once remarkable, even via the factors of Versailles. yet she couldn't produce an inheritor. Sexual obsession introduced them jointly, yet chilly organic fact tore them apart.

Gripping in its immediacy, attractive in its element, Ambition and hope is a real story of hope, heartbreak, and innovative turmoil, engagingly written by way of one among England’s such a lot praised younger historians. Kate Williams’s searing portrait of this eye-catching and complicated lady will eventually increase Josephine Bonaparte to the ancient prominence she merits.

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Additional resources for Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte

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It is now the ideal of France as a mosaic of ethnic groups, so alien and repulsive to the old school, that enjoys increasingly wide support. What will these changes mean for French Jewry? A certain number of Jews prominent in the great, traditional institutions of the state and higher learning—the type that Birnbaum calls “les Juifs d’état,” or “state Jews”—have angrily denounced the changes and clung for dear life to the sinking republican ideal. The intellectuals Chantal Benayoun and Dominique Schnapper (who is Raymond Aron’s daughter) have gone so far as to call Jewish leaders “counterrevolutionaries” for advocating a greater public presence for the Jewish community.

Nora has called France the “statocentric” nation par excellence. This begs the question of whether the “state” of the Middle Ages, of the French Revolution, and the present day can really be lumped together. Haven’t the French continuously reinvented the state, too, along with the other aspects of their society and their culture? Where the state is concerned, this perspective turned Realms of Memory’s punch into more of a caress. It also led the authors to underestimate elements of French nation-building that did not fit into their story.

These anti-Semites loathed the assimilated Jews far more than the Orthodox immigrants who really did live in “closed societies”; in the paranoid fantasies of French reaction, the assimilated Jews were perpetrating a dangerous deception in disguising their true, malevolent natures. It is no coincidence that the two most hated Jews in French history have been examples of extreme assimilation: the rightwing army officer Alfred Dreyfus (who, it has been remarked, in other circumstances would have made a natural anti-Dreyfusard) and the secular socialist Leon Blum, who was prime minister under the Popular Front in the 1930s.

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Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte by Kate Williams

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